Following is the speech (English only) by the Financial Secretary, Mr Henry Tang, at the Hong Kong Design Centre 2004 Award Presentation Gala Dinner this (November 18) evening:
Victor, Freeman, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to join you all this evening at the Hong Kong Design Centre 2004 Award Presentation Gala Dinner. Gathered here are renowned designers, business leaders and their associates from Hong Kong and all over the world. For those who have flown a long way to Hong Kong, Asia's World City, I would like to extend our warmest welcome to you.
This evening, we will see a new crop of winners of the prestigious 'Design for Asia Awards', the 'World's Outstanding Chinese Designer Award', as well as the first ever 'Design Leadership Award'. Apart from honouring excellent designs and their designers, these awards serve to highlight the huge commercial potential of designs and innovations. The Award winners not only vividly testify our triumph in improving the quality of life through creativity in products and services, but also demonstrate the competitive edge of great design in today's business world.
The importance of nurturing design professionals and attracting young talent to the industry cannot be over-emphasized. Earlier this year, the HKSAR Government has set aside $250 million to launch the DesignSmart Initiative so as to turn Hong Kong into a focal point of design excellence in the region.
Under the DesignSmart Initiative, we have introduced several major schemes, each covers an important area of design and innovation, including development of professional training, collaboration between designers and SMEs, and funding of new design ventures. In an increasingly globalised and competitive market place, design and creativity content are the critical edge which determines business success. We are confident that our DesignSmart Initiative will create multifold return to our investment and accrue to the whole community and the region.
We also recognise that a high standard of protection for intellectual property rights is instrumental in promoting development of our creative industries. Our robust IPR regime will assure our investors that their products of creativity are well protected in Hong Kong and they can reap the rewards of their hard work in a safe, fair and free environment.
Ladies and gentlemen, tonight is an occasion of celebration. I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all the winners for your innovation, creativity and hard work. Such excellent work deserves our recognition and praise. Your success would certainly inspire many of our fellow designers, and set an excellent example for others to follow.
I would also like to thank the Hong Kong Design Centre, the judging panel of leading international design experts, the supporting organisations and sponsors for your superb efforts that make this event a huge success. I look forward to seeing more great designs in the years to come, and wish you all the very best in your future endeavours.
Ends/Thursday, November 18, 2004